Back to a New Normal

The May 11th TIME Magazine just arrived. Although I’m really tired of the endless talk of the Pandemic [necessary though it is], one article caught my immediate attention. The Right Way Out, written by Alice Park, starts with a reference I had not heard about. Maybe others have…Japan. Allow me to pull a few of her opening words out.

“After infections of COVID-19 on the Japanese island (of Hokkaido) exploded following its annual winter festival this year, officials declared  . . . a state of emergency to control the disease. Soon after, daily cases plummeted and the island’s . . . quick action was heralded as a beacon for the rest of Japan to follow.

“But, it wasn’t just infections that dropped; over the next month agriculture and tourism business also dried up, and Hokkaido’s governor decided to ease social restrictions. However, compliance with limits on social interaction after weeks of sequestering was harder this time around. Within a month, Hokkaido’s new COVID-19 infections jumped by 80%”.

I admit it. I’m tired of being pinned down in the house. I’m also concerned that the economy is tanking and feel bad for people who, already hurting financially, have lost jobs and face a dismal future. But, I am really scared of what is already starting to happen as we begin to talk about opening up again.

It’s    going   to    come   back.

Let me be clear. My frame of reference is New York State. I grew up in Western New York and have lived in Rochester my entire adult life. But, I went to college on Long Island and I understand it’s different at that end of the State.  I also accept the fact that people away from large populations and big cities – people from the wide-open expanses of the mid-west are dealing with very different circumstances.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in the State of New York, has done a magnificent job of guiding us through a horrific situation. He didn’t create it but, with the aid of what appears to be a knowledgeable team, he is dealing with it in a practical and objective way. Judging from the overwhelming predictions of death when COVID-19 hit our State and the way he has lowered the actual numbers thus far, I would say he has provided a sensible model for others in their own decision-making. Not that everyone should do all he has done, [other States – other issues – other ways of coping] but use it, don’t criticize it.

Here’s the point. A wide segment of the population is trying to follow the governor’s advice and example. But, as we tire of restrictions, too many are ignoring four suggestions vital for safety – Wear the mask – Keep six feet apart – Reduce touching – Wash hands.

If we start spreading ourselves around without proper precaution, we WILL get the same results as Hokkaido in Japan. Then – God help us – more lives will be lost AND the economy will take even longer to get healthy.

P L E A S E  do your part, and P L E A S E  encourage other do the same.

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By the Seat of Your Pants

There is a saying that comes out of the field of Aviation: “Flying by the seat of your pants.” It seems there are present-day lessons to be learned if we give some thought to that quote and the circumstances it suggests.

Once upon a time a pilot could takeoff when and where he wanted, and fly from here to there and back to here by another way home. The rules were being made, and facts about flying – knowledge, if you will – often came at the expense of a young barn-storming pilot’s life.

The knowledge gained as a result of early mistakes usually became the basis for useful new rules that were intended to make the situation better and safer. Researchers, who studied the details of early successes and failures, could determine the probable consequences of an airborne action if attempted again. Their input gave future pilots an opportunity to make wise decisions when dealing with a problem during flight.

Today, when pilots take off, somebody wants to know where they are going and when they expect to arrive. Today’s pilots need permission to takeoff, follow a book full of rules while in the air, usually travel on designated “highways”  along with and in cooperation with everyone else, and have a personal responsibility to act in a way that ensures safety for everyone.

What is the result? Everyone, in the air and on the ground, is safer today than in yesteryear. Fewer die an untimely death. The young, the old, people in a hurry, and those taking it slow, all live longer.

How many lives could be saved today, how many families feel safer, if we could all just recognize and apply to our current medical situation what aviation has done? As we hurry to get back to normal living, doesn’t it seem important that we accept knowledge-based data which will keep us safe? Even if we don’t like the rules, when it comes to moving forward from this corona pandemic, could we please not “Fly by the seat of our pants?”

Posted in America, aviation | 4 Comments